EO-based Land Information Services in Support of International Development Bank Projects
Coulson, Stephen1; Sandow, C.2; Königbauer, C.2

Background Over the last decades, the principles of Sustainable Development have been progressively adopted by world leaders following a series of Earth Summits (Stockholm, 1972; Rio, 1992; Johannesburg, 2002). Development targets, such as the Millennium Development Goals, have been defined during these summits and agreed upon by decision and policy makers as well as by business sectors in order to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and fight global poverty and hunger. For these reasons, large "Multi-lateral Development Banks" (MDBs) such as IFAD (United Nations International Fund of Agricultural Development) are adopting a series of sustainability principles to better account for social and environmental risks within the context of project financing. The need to account for the "environmental dimension" in financing projects has driven a growing demand for geospatial information in order to better assess the environmental footprint of financed projects. In providing a wide range of environmental information for various applications, Earth Observation (EO) based information represents a powerful tool to support the monitoring and management of activities related within such MDB-funded projects. Benefits such as objective, consistent, non-intrusive information derived by satellite sensors, which is worldwide available, are multiplied by the fact that also historic information for comparison is accessible through very large image archives. Finally, the long-term continuity of EO data forms another asset of this specific information technology for MDBs. Regional Project Example Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world where the majority of the population still lives below the poverty line, mainly in rural areas (In 2007: 62% of the population). The predominance of crop and livestock farming and poor intra-sector diversification make Niger’s economy very vulnerable to climate and market vagaries. According to IFAD more than seven million people in Niger are in need of food and the loss in production in pastoral areas may have long-lasting consequences for the economy and the health and livelihood of the Nigerien population, caused by the latest food crisis in 2010 and 2011/2012. Common thematic focus of all IFAD activities in Niger is food security, increasing agricultural productivity as well as the income of rural households in order to reduce rural poverty. Since 1980, IFAD has financed eleven projects and programmes in Niger, providing about 8.5% of all aid to Niger’s rural and agricultural sectors. In 2006, IFAD already had prepared the second COSOP (Country strategic opportunities paper) for Niger which defines IFAD’s medium-term strategic support programme for the country including the strategic objective of reducing the vulnerability of rural families and improving their food security also by means of the substantial improvement of natural resources management. A third COSOP for Niger has been released in December 2012 recently with the aim to ensure food security for rural households on a sustainable basis and promoting their resilience to crisis. In Niger, IFAD is focusing its activities in the Maradi region which covers 3% of the country with 20% of the national population. Located at the border to Nigeria, the area is characterized by a high agro-forestry-pastoral and commercial potential and was the most affected region by the food crisis of 2005 and in 2010. It was selected as a priority region by the Government of Niger and IFAD for the coming years, where a number of new IFAD activities will take place. The European Space Agency (ESA) supports these upcoming activities with a dedicated project, delivering recent information for planning and monitoring with specific map and information products of Maradi, mainly based on optical multi-spectral RapidEye data with very high spatial resolution.